Couple say giant self build that replaced bungalow ‘changed the climate' in garden

A large grey flat roofed self build with block walls surrounded by debris
Neighbours have questioned the council for allowing the large self build, described as a "horrible blocked construction", blaming council staff working from home causing a "lack of cohesion" (Image credit: BNPS)

A two-storey house that replaced a bungalow is overshadowing the property next door to the extent it has changed the climate of the garden, according to the angry neighbours.

Terry and Margaret Selby say they have lost eight hours of sunlight a day at their home in Corfe Mullen, near Wimborne in Devon, and that the frost doesn't thaw on a particularly cold day.

Margaret also says they have had to plant hardier foliage and the partially built self build “looks like an Amazon warehouse”.

What is being built at the back of their garden?

The bungalow was bought for £350,000 in 2022 and the owners applied for planning permission to build a four-bedroom modern home in its place.

The proposal documents, which are submitted before building a house, say the new development will raise the eaves height of the property from approx. 2.7m, with a dual pitched roof, to 5.6m with a flat roof.

Members of Corfe Mullen Town Council said they are concerned the new home would be “visually incongruous”.

Council working from home caused 'lack of cohesion'

The self build replaced the bungalow at the back of this property

The two-storey self build replaced a bungalow at the back of the Selby's bungalow and garden (Image credit: Google Earth)

The Selbys lodged an official complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman over Dorset Council's handling of the planning application, accusing the council of being in “disarray”.

In a letter of objection to the plans, the Selbys wrote: “This horrible blocked construction is far too near to my little bungalow and small garden which has stood here for nearly 100 years.

“Is it so hard to see that by just looking around it is not in keeping with existing properties. It is akin to building a funfair in a churchyard. It is out of scale and dominant in its surroundings.”

Terry told the MailOnline: “Our argument is that they couldn't have looked at the plans properly, they just let it go through.

“When they granted permission the council report stated it wouldn't be overbearing, it wouldn't restrict the light and that it would enhance the area. All of the opposite has come true. It was a baffling decision.”

“I have tried to complain to the council but quite frankly they don’t want to know. They have closed ranks and haven’t answered my questions," Terry added, whilst also claiming, "Staff working from home can’t help matters and could be why they aren’t in sync with each other and there is a lack of cohesion.”

Why did the council allow the build to go ahead?

The former bungalow can be seen at the bottom of this image

The former bungalow (seen at the bottom of this image) has been replaced by a two-storey self build that overlooks neighbouring gardens (Image credit: Google)

The development was given planning permission despite the objections from neighbours.

The planning officer’s report states: “Concerns have been raised by the occupants of that property that the development will result in overshadowing but with an intervening distance of approx. 12m between the conservatory and two storey flank wall, no harmful overshadowing of the living accommodation is anticipated.

“The proposed two storey flank wall would be more visually prominent from neighbouring properties than the existing pitched roof but the distances would avoid an overbearing impact that would justify refusal.”

Dorset council said: “The planning application was assessed against the Development Plan and with due consideration of all material planning issues including those raised by neighbours. The application site was visited as part of the application process. Officers do not consider that working from home had any influence on the decision.”

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.